Jenny Larsen's gonna make it after all


By John Ring

In many ways, Jenny Larsen is a classic example of a Knox College athlete.

She’s smart. She’s easy to talk to. She’s good at what she does.

Just a few weeks ago, Larsen was named as the Midwest Conference track and field Performer for the Week when she helped lead the Prairie Fire to a third place finish.

Larsen finished first in the 400 meter run with a time of 1:01.80, second in the 200 meter race (27.11) and she helped the Prairie Fire 4 X 400 meter relay team to a third place finish in the 4 X 400, running her leg in 60.5.

But aside from that and her four years at Knox, there’s one other thing that Jenny Larsen will be remembered for.

Jenny Larsen was the last athlete that Harley Knosher recruited.

That’s pretty special, when you consider that Harley Knosher and Knox athletics will always be remembered as one.,

"That’s a pretty neat thing," said Larsen, who is from Blaine, Minnesota. "He kept calling me. He kept pursuing me. I always thought I would go to a bigger school but he talked me into coming down to visit Knox so the spring of my senior year in high school, my Mom and I came down."

And that’s when Jenny, from suburban Minneapolis, knew things were coming together for her.

"Once I saw the campus, I knew it was the right fit for me," said Larsen. "I couldn’t have made a better choice. The academics are great, you have a one on one relationship with the professors, I couldn’t have made a better choice for me."

Prairie Fire track and field coach Chris Pio’s first season was Jenny’s freshman year. "From a talent standpoint, she’s one of the most versatile athletes we’ve had at Knox," said Pio. "From an attitude standpoint, she’s a coach’s dream. Jenny takes pride in her performance and she’s always looking at ways to motivate not only herself but the team as well."

Larsen just wasn’t a track and field star at Blaine Senior High School. As a point guard, she helped lead her basketball team to a 3rd place finish at State in the large school class.

But Larsen didn’t want to play basketball at college; instead, she wanted to focus mostly on track and field along with her studies. "I had never run indoors before which I wanted to do and I’ve always enjoyed doing the sport," said Jenny.

Her favorite event, strangely enough, isn’t one of the three that helped garner her the weekly award from the Midwest Conference. "I love the intermediate hurdles. I was kind of joking around about doing it and Coach Pio asked me if I wanted to try it. I really enjoy it even though it’s looks so easy but it really isn’t."

"That’s the neat thing about track and field," said Pio. "There’s no limits or boundaries as to what you can do. Jenny came to us as a long sprinter and jumper but with her background and athleticism, she could try new things."

Larsen not only attempted the hurdles, she came to master them. After running the 400 meter intermediates as a sophomore, she won that Midwest Conference as a junior and will defend her championship at Ripon later this spring.

Larsen has always been interested in the medical field and intends to pursue it after graduation from Knox, "I’ve applied for various osteopathy degrees and Masters programs. I’ve heard back from some of them but I’m not close to making a decision yet."

No matter where she goes, no matter what she does and no matter what she does at the Conference Meet next month, Jenny Larsen will always be remembered here as Harley Knosher’s Last Recruit.

And that’s certainly not a bad thing at all.